Tuesday, 1 October 2013


     When I was about 13 or 14, visiting my grandparents in Massachusetts one summer, my parents dropped me off at the New England Aquarium for the day. (I have always been a nerd, and insisted on being allowed to spend a day there or at the Museum of Science every time we were anywhere near Boston.) On this particular visit, though, I was kind of shocked to see a couple of men holding hands.  This was the late 1970s, and there was no greater insult at my junior high school than to call someone gay. And these two fellows were decidedly, flamboyantly so, though at the time I did not recognize it from their style of dress so much; naively I thought gay men must have worn dresses or something, and was perplexed that manly-looking men in their manly muscle shirts, manly tight white trousers and most of all their hyper-manly moustaches (when you're 13, facial hair is manliness itself) were -- ewww! -- holding hands! I admit, at that time and place, I was a bit grossed out.

     The other day, I was driving somewhere, and noticed a couple walking along the sidewalk, holding hands and obviously very much in love, and I just found myself smiling and thinking, "Aw, how sweet!" And it almost didn't even register that they were both men, except perhaps in the way I used to notice couples of mixed race, with a sense of solidarity and pride that our society seems to have learned to accept these things.

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